If given the opportunity to live during a different artistic movement other than now, which one would you choose? and why?
That’s an extremely difficult choice, that’s like choosing only one ice cream flavour. But if I had to choose, I’d choose the Decadent movement, mid 19th century. Why, you ask? Because of Oscar Wilde. Wilde is one of my absolute favourite writers. I adore his wit and portrayal of aristocratic lords and ladies, but it’s his philosophy of pleasure, to do what you love, that fills me with a feeling of freedom.
Now I’d go back just to have a drink with him and enjoy his company. I think we’d be good drinking buddies.
So far in your career, what was the biggest antagonistic force that you encountered on your creative journey? The biggest antagonistic force has been the presumption that you can’t have a happy life as an artist. I’m from a lower middleclass family, my family are labourers. They worked hard jobs down at the docks, tough jobs to earn their keep. Me, I was never a manual labourer, I wanted to be an actor. Imagine a family of dockers hearing that their oldest boy wanted to put on makeup and prance about on stage (as they saw acting). “you’ll never pay the bills like that” and “it’s a hard life being an actor” are catchphrases from my childhood.
Artists are poor and afraid of real work. I never listened.
I found writing through acting and that became my focus in life. A few months ago, I published a prose poem to my hometown, Hull, in England. I called my Grandfather and asked what he thought. “It was beautiful, by gosh. I read it more than once, it was beautiful.” This was a working man’s opinion. He was extremely proud of me. As I got older, I realized that they said these things, not to hurt or stop me, but because they loved and cared about me.
You need an opposing force to succeed, something to push against, something to fight for. I got that in a loving way, which I’m extremely thankful for.
If your creative work were edible, what would it taste like?
My creative work is a buffet of different tastes (That’s not cheating, here’s why). There’s something for everyone. I’ve tried to work out what kind of writer I am, and I can’t. I’m influenced by so many different people throughout history. Hemingway, Wilde, Dahl, Trumbo, Tarantino. I just write what I feel and it takes control and becomes what it wants to become.
In my buffet, there’s something easy and fun for the kids and something heartfelt and searching for the teenagers. For Mum and Dad there’s something tense with a pinch of danger and for Grandma something from the good old days. I don’t sit down and think, “Hmm, right, I’m a social realist so let’s illuminate societies problems”, I don’t work like that.
Life is a magnificent web of dreams vs reality and aspirations vs expectations, the
chaos has cadence even if sometimes it demands to be explained. How do you live
life to the fullest when it is also vulnerably fragile?
What’s the point of running if the race goes on for eternity?
It’s the knowledge that life is fragile that tells us to live life to the fullest. If someone told
you that you were going to live forever, then what’s the point of doing anything? It’s the
fact that time is fleeting that motivates us to reach for our goals. We don’t know when our personal hourglass is down to its last grains of sand, so why not laugh, live and love as much as possible. Be silly, be creative, dream big and aim for them blasted stars.
Some might say ‘what’s the point if you could die tomorrow?’ That’s even more reason to do the things that make you happy. I write and it makes me happy. I might reach my goal of becoming a world-famous screenwriter or a bestselling author, I might not. But I’m sure as hell going to enjoy my journey towards it.
I’ll finish with a quote from my good friend, Oscar Wilde.
Life is much too important a thing ever to talk seriously about it.